Liverpool new signing can hand Jurgen Klopp fresh Champions League boost

Liverpool have reportedly secured their first signing of the summer after agreeing a deal with Celtic for youngster Ben Doak. While the Reds are yet to confirm the move, he has been pictured posing with a shirt in the club’s dressing room.

The Athletic report Liverpool have agreed a £ 600k fee for the teenager, who had yet to sign professional terms with the Scottish giants. Meanwhile, they also claim Leeds United offered the Scotland youth international more lucrative terms but his heart di lui was set on a move to Anfield.

Doak was handed his senior debut by Ange Postecoglou against Dundee United back in January, and become Celtic’s second-youngest ever debutant behind only Jack Aitchison when he entered the fray with a little over 20 minutes left, before later coming on as a late substitute against Rangers the following month.

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However, he hasn’t been included in a first-team squad since having decided to leave the club, with his involvement partly a late attempt to persuade him to stay with the Hoops.

Capped for Scotland at Under-16s and Under-17s level, Doak, who won’t turn 17 until November, looks set to become the latest starlet to join the Reds’ youth setup, following in the footsteps of the likes of Harvey Elliott and Kaide Gordon. However, despite a deal seemingly now being agreed, the youngster won’t be able to play for the Reds’ youth sides until next season.

While he is unlikely to be thrown straight into Jurgen Klopp ‘s first team due to his tender years, club insiders are excited by the prospect of adding another talented teen to an ever-expanding roster within the youth ranks at the club. But having seen both Elliott and Gordon handed senior debuts within months of joining the club, as well as maiden Premier League appearances within their first year at Anfield, it’s clear he will have plenty of opportunities to catch his manager’s eye.

Should Doak impress enough early on at Liverpool for them to award him a Premier League debut, he won’t need to be registered in the Reds squad to feature due to still being an underage player. However, he would be unavailable for European action unless he was registered on List A.

This is because while clubs are able to select an unlimited number of underage players on List B, said players have to be, “… eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday by the time he is registered with UEFA – or for a total of three consecutive years with a maximum of one loan period to a club from the same association for a period not longer than one year. Players aged 16 may be submitted if they have been registered with the club for the previous two years without interruption. “

Doak would not fit the criteria to be named on List B and is likely to be left ineligible for the Champions League as a result, as Gordon has found himself this season. However, it would not stop him being able to play in UEFA League fixtures.

While the 16-year-old won’t be considered a homegrown player when he joins Liverpool, time is on his side to qualify for such status, in contrast to compatriot Andy Robertson. The Scotland captain was 20 when he signed for Hull City from Dundee United, meaning he is classed as an overseas player when the Reds register their squads for Premier League and European action. Had he moved south two years earlier, he would be classed as homegrown.

A homegrown player means a player who, irrespective of nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to The FA (or Wales FA) for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons, or 36 months, before his 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which he turns 21).

With Doak still only 16, he has plenty of time to be registered with Liverpool for three entire seasons prior to turning 21. Meanwhile, it also means he could at some point qualify for as a ‘club-trained’ player (Players who were on a club’s books for three years between the ages of 15 and 21) for European competition for the Reds, with UEFA requiring clubs to name four such players if they wish to name a full 25-man squad.

Yet to even join up with Liverpool, it’s still very early days in the Celtic starlet’s career and impossible to predict if he’ll make the grade at Anfield or end up moving elsewhere. But his signing di lui is just the latest example of the Reds bringing in a talented young player in the hope they can make a senior step-up with the club while gaining homegrown status while learning their trade with Klopp’s side.

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